June 12 Is a popular Celebration in Western parts of Nigeria and in Nigeria at large. It is the day Nigerians would never forget especially people from the western parts of Nigeria (Yoruba Race).
Nigerians born from 1990 may not render good explanation of what actually happened on June 12,1993.
This article has alot to say about June 12.
It all started in March 1993, When Chief MKO Abiola, from Ogun state, was chosen by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) as its candidate after beating his eventual running mate Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
The National Republican Convention (NRC) chose Bashir Tofa from Kano State.
The Presidential Election of 12,1993 was declared Nigeria’s freest and fairest presidential election by national and international observers, with Abiola even winning in his Northern opponent’s home state.
The results of the election have never been officially certified.
According to African Elections Database, Abiola won with 8,243,209 votes while Tofa polled 5,982,087 votes.
It was believed that Abiola won in 20 out of the 30 States then in Nigeria.
The result of the election was counteracted by the then military head of state Ibrahim Babangida because of alleged electoral malpractices in all states of the federation.
Ibrahim Babangida Rose up and gave an a nationwide announcement saying “There was, in fact, a huge array of electoral malpractices virtually in all the states of the federation before the actual voting began,” on June 23, 1993.
He did not only annulled the presidential Election, he also banned Abiola and Tofa from contesting in the rescheduled Election.
Babangida subsequently ‘stepped aside’ on August 27, 1993, paving the way for an interim national government headed by Ernest Shonekan, who like Abiola is an indigene of Ogun State. The interim government was later overthrown in November of that year by General Sani Abacha.
Abiola therefore declared himself the president of Nigeria On June 11, 1994, at Epetedo, Lagos.
He Said “As of now, from this moment, a new Government of National Unity is in power throughout the length and breadth of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, led by me, Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola, as President and Commander-in-Chief.”
After declaring himself president he was declared wanted and was accused of treason and arrested on the orders of the military head of state General Sani Abacha, who sent 200 police vehicles to bring him into custody.
He was arrested on 23 June, 1994 and was detained for complete 4years without access to information except Bible and Qur'an.
Abiola died on July 7, 1998, the day he was supposed to be freed from detention.
Later, during the era of President Muhammadu Buhari, he shifted the holiday of June 12 from May 29 to June 12 every year.
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